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Non-profit seeks to build art and science center in Dickinson

A group of local volunteers and philanthropists are working together on a plan to create the Southwest Art Gallery and Science Center which they say will enable those with a love of art and science to have a place where they can share their creativity while discovering new ways of experiencing the world around them.

Todd Selle
Dickinson Middle School teacher Todd Selle and some local children enjoy the SW Art Gallery & Science Center's wind tube at Dickinson's First on First festival on Thursday, July 14.
Contributed / Janelle Stoneking
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DICKINSON — A local group of volunteers and philanthropists are working hard to bring an art gallery and children’s science center to downtown Dickinson. Janelle Stoneking, Southwest Art Gallery & Science Center Board president, said it would offer artistic activities for citizens of all ages.

Stoneking praised Dickinson as a “beautiful community” with so much to offer for athletic and recreational activities, but lamented that it is lacking in other aspects. She pointed to Jamestown, Valley City, Wahpeton and Williston as smaller or similarly populated cities that have beautiful arts centers.

“But we do recognize that it does not have as much to offer in the area of arts and culture. And we don't have an interactive children's museum or science related STEM center here,” she said. “As we're trying to market this community as far as recruiting folks to come live here and love it just like we do, we want to make sure we can offer the same quality of life attractions that many other communities do.”

A promotional pamphlet provided by Stoneking emphasized that this She added that they are in talks to purchase the old Dickinson City Hall building.

“We were interested in the old city hall building because of the beautiful space on the main floor. We envisioned it to be a lovely art gallery… with some art classrooms to offer educational opportunities and recreational opportunities,” Stoneking said. “The basement of that building offers a lot of square footage. We felt that with some renovation it would create a lovely science center for our kids to do hands-on activities. So we will have permanent and temporary exhibits in that science center, as well as a birthday party space to rent. In the basement we're also looking to have a pottery ceramics studio with a kiln.”


Stoneking’s fellow board member Cheri Roshau said she’s confident this institution will be an incredible asset to the Dickinson area.

“In fact, that's what we brought up today at this session with Conoco-Phillips is that in the beginning it started out like we wanted to have this wonderful art gallery. But now we're in a place where it's not about the art gallery so much as the service we will give to the community in so many different ways and visions,” Roshau said. “I believe there’s so much healing and growth that happens within the arts.”

Stoneking said they don’t have a grand opening date set in stone yet, and are in the final stages of finishing a business plan. She noted the group is still seeking the input of residents through an online survey, which can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/H29VH7X.

For more information about getting involved with or making a donation to the SW Art & Science Center, contact 701-690-1934, swartandscience@gmail.com or check out their Facebook page.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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